From the August 27, 1932, issue


Dneprostroy was dedicated on August 25.

This hydroelectric power project exceeds similar undertakings in size and difficulty of accomplishment. It is on the Dnieper river in the U.S.S.R.

From an installed capacity of 756,000 horsepower, abundant electricity will be available to smelt iron and other metals and to operate chemical industries. Water is to be pumped to irrigate hundreds of thousands of hectares of rich but drought-affected steppe. Steamers from the Black Sea, 200 miles down the Dnieper, will be able to penetrate hundreds of miles farther inland because the dam, and locks built with it, overcome obstructing rapids.

The cost of the dam, power plant, locks and necessary bridges is approximately 220,000,000 rubles, or $110,000,000. Three and one-half million dollars was spent for construction equipment alone. It is estimated that an additional 620,000,000 rubles will be consumed in developing the industries that will depend on the new source of power. The dam is the largest masonry structure ever built to impound water and was finished six months ahead of schedule.


A new theory of why radium spontaneously explodes and disintegrates into other chemical elements was proposed by Prof. Werner Heisenberg, the young German originator of quantum mechanics and the principle of uncertainty, who lectured at the summer physics symposium of the University of Michigan.

Prof. Heisenberg visualizes the heart of the atom made up exclusively of protons, the positive particles, and neutrons, the newly discovered close combinations of proton and electron. Old ideas had the atomic nucleus built of protons and electrons, but Prof. Heisenberg holds there are no electrons or negative units in the atomic hearts except combined with protons to make neutrons.

He explains radioactivity by the fact that there are too many neutrons in relation to protons in the hearts of heavy elements. They are unstable. At intervals, this instability causes a neutron to burst and out rushes an electron which is discharged from the atom as a beta particle. The proton partner of the ousted electron remains in the nucleus. At other times the atom gets rid of mass by ejecting a bundle of two neutrons, or two protons combined with two electrons, which are equivalent to a helium heart, and smash outward in the form of an alpha particle.

This disintegration continues with radioactive elements changing into lighter ones until they reach a stable state as some lighter element. Radium in this way turns into lead.

This new Heisenberg theory provides the first satisfactory explanation of the mechanism of radioactivity. Under the Heisenberg theory the number of protons in each nucleus is equal to the atomic number, while the proton and neutrons together determine the atomic weight.


Cobalt of atomic weight 57, manganese of atomic weight 53, and vanadium of atomic weight 49 are predicted by Dr. James H. Bartlett, Jr., young American physicist and fellow of the National Research Council, through the use of a new theory of atomic structure in which neutrons and protons only are used as building blocks of the nucleus.

The normal atomic weights of cobalt, manganese, and vanadium of the sorts now known are 59, 55, and 51 respectively. Atoms of different weight but having identical chemical behavior are known as isotopes.

Dr. Bartlett, whose home is in Quincy, Mass., announced his research in a letter to Nature.

The neutron was identified as an entity only a few months ago. It is a close combination of an electron and a proton. Older theories of atomic structure considered the hearts of atoms as built of protons and free electrons but the discovery of the neutron has led to the theory that electrons occur within the nucleus only as parts of neutrons. Starting with a helium nucleus and adding alternately a neutron and a proton, Dr. Bartlett obtains all the elements in the chemical table up to oxygen of atomic weight 16, namely, lithium 6 and 7, beryllium 8 and 9, boron 10 and 11, carbon 12 and 13, and nitrogen 14 and 15. Beyond oxygen, owing to a change in the arrangement of the “bricks” within the inner shell (two neutrons being more stable in the central field than a neutron and a proton) the order of addition becomes: Neutron, neutron, proton, proton, and repeat. This gives oxygen 17 and 18, fluorine 19, neon 20, 21, and 22, sodium 23, magnesium 24, 25, 26 etc.

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